Is it Spring time for Online/Hybrid Estate Agents and Autumn for High Street Agents?

OK, so I have used an attention grabbing title that some would say sparks ‘I disagree with annoyance’ and feelings of ‘less than amused’, intrigues others and simply passes by overhead with the remanding community… But have I simply highlighted what many are at least thinking?

Let me clear some facts first as our blogs do get good readership on Estate Agent Networking and many readers usually question us by email with interest as to where our facts come from and if we get paid by the names in the industry we showcase and highlight. No, we do not get paid by Purplebricks, eMoov or others similar, but yes we maintain a good relationship with all parties in the UK property industry which includes other property industry news channels in-fact!

If I take an overview impression, standing on the outside as a consumer, then I certainly see more and more online / hybrid estate agency boards in our home town (Colchester, Essex) and the trend of seeing these boards with for sale on is now starting to turn into seeing sold signs. Just a few years ago it would have only been very rarely seen Sarah Beeny’s Tepilo for sale board that would have stuck out…

purplebricks for sale and sold

Now of course, though the residential streets are still heavily dominated by the for sale and sold signs of our traditional high street estate agents, it is the fact that more online / hybrid signs are going up that helps to install in the minds of the consumer these brand names, confidence in using them grows no doubt and the unknown and yet to be trusted online only / hybrid option for buying and selling a home has suddenly grown in likelihood to be used.

Buying and selling products and services, and not confined to just cheap and spontaneous purchases, is gathering momentum online from takeaways to weekly food shopping, from cars to houses and this trend is growing even faster thanks to social media. Selling and buying property online is a perfect match and social media is really improving things further.

I want to sell my house and I want the best results (ie speed of sale, price achieved and commission)” is surely what every home owner looking to put their property on the market is after? “Are you on Rightmove & Zoopla?” is for sure another question asked and maybe “will you put a board up” follow close behind so if hybrid and online estate agents can tick these boxes then is there anything to stop their growth and popularity as a choice with consumers?

online vs traditional

Save over £4,000 in fees or pay for a new fleet of branded company cars?

There is no question that a traditional estate agency, especially those that have been in the region for many years with an unbeatable local knowledge and a mountain of great reviews from past exchanges will install in most people’s minds confidence and trust as well as the acceptance of paying £1,000’s in commission over £100’s – Though with a younger generation entering the scene of buying and selling property and many of those affluent in using the internet and adapting to new innovation instantly within their daily lives and importantly being used to seeing and using businesses that are newly launched such as start-ups, crowd funded projects and ones which have gone viral quickly, surely price and brand awareness will topple high street presence, branded flashy company cars and a pre year 2000 date for company formation?

I also work within the UK drinks industry and I see very similar occurring across the country with both producers of drinks and those selling the drinks. Where once the market was full of major names, let us look at gin in this instance, there are now micro-brewers starting up across the country. Yes, to many Gin means Gordons, but now eating in to their dominance are 100’s of smaller breweries across the UK selling lesser known yet higher quality gins. Champagne was once the king of sparkling wine sales in the UK and now it is Prosecco which though may not deliver the same quality in taste, is importantly considerably cheaper. People are buying more wines online, Naked Wines being a prime example of the success in this field, and they are trusting in online reviews to help them to decide which wine to purchase. Such is the fear of believing in online sales for wines that Majestic Wines, who own warehouse style shops across the UK selling wines, paid £70 million for Naked Wines. More traditional estate agencies will buy up online estate agent concepts for sure.

Christopher Walkey

Founder of Estate Agent Networking. Internationally invited speaker on how to build online target audiences using Social Media. Writes about UK property prices, housing, politics and affordable homes.

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